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Trust in Fox News drops for 1/5 of viewers amidst Dominion lawsuit

Trust in Fox News has dropped precipitously among viewers, as the conservative cable news juggernaut continues to feel the fallout from a series of ongoing lawsuits over the network's coverage of the 2020 presidential election. 

More than one-fifth of Fox News viewers over the age of 18 say they trust the network less now, according to a Maru Public Opinion survey commissioned by Variety's Intelligence Platform and published on Thursday. This comes in the wake of court documents and released text messages showing that station hosts, producers, and executives privately denounced former President Donald Trump's 2020 claims of a "stolen election," even as they publically promulgated those same claims on air. All told, 21 percent of adult Fox viewers indicated they now trust the network less, compared to just 12 percent of overall adults. Similarly, although 50 percent of Fox viewers still said they believed the 2020 election was "stolen" from Trump, 13 percent of respondents said they "now do not believe the 2020 election was stolen due to voter fraud," after learning of NewsCorp chief Rupert Murdoch's testimony discrediting those theories, given during a deposition for voting machine company Dominion's $1.6 billion dollar suit against the network.  

The survey, conducted between March 10-12 among 1,524 respondents, also found that fewer than 10 percent of Fox viewers aware of the lawsuits watched the network less than they had previously. This number was seemingly offset by other viewership gains, which has resulted in no net change for Fox, and "no impact to advertising, with no advertisers dropping or pausing," according to a network spokesperson statement to Variety. Relatedly, "more than half of Fox News viewers who said they were aware of the deposition and texts said they continue to trust Fox News," Variety reported. "Nearly double the percentage of the group that said they trust the network less."

While Fox's bottom line may be largely unaffected by the Dominion lawsuit revelations, the network has nevertheless seemingly worked to distance itself from the former president whose outlandish allegations prompted the suit to begin with.